Municipal energy system modelling – A practical comparison of optimisation and simulation approaches

Rasmus Magni Johannsen, Matteo Giacomo Prina, Poul Alberg Østergaard, Brian Vad Mathiesen, Wolfram Sparber

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch

12 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates the impact of applying optimisation and simulation approaches for energy system modelling and scenario design in a municipal context. In doing so, the previous understanding of what constitutes “optimisation” and “simulation” is expanded with further distinctions and it is documented how the outlined modelling approaches are applied in the existing literature. In a practical comparison, it is tested how the choice of modelling approach influences the design of future energy system scenarios for a municipal case study. The energy system scenarios and results obtained from a proposed stepwise simulation approach are compared to an established multi-objective optimisation approach. The results show that for the investigated municipal case it is possible to obtain results with a simulation-based approach that are comparable to the results obtained from multi-objective optimisation. Ultimately, the choice of modelling approach is a complex issue in which modellers must consider the necessary degree of modelling freedom, stakeholder involvement, and available system knowledge. Modellers need to consider not only what tool to use, but also how it is used; a tool can be used for both optimisation and simulation, and both can be valid approaches for developing future energy system scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126803
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2023


  • Municipal energy system scenarios
  • Simulation
  • Optimisation
  • Energy system modelling
  • EnergyPLAN
  • EPLANopt


Dive into the research topics of 'Municipal energy system modelling – A practical comparison of optimisation and simulation approaches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this